An old pol thinks following polls is bad for the country...

…and especially for any reformist movement that hopes to make things actually better as opposed to “slightly different in a way with good marketing.” But now I’m putting words in his mouth.

Seems more like a gripe about democracy (or “democracy,” if you prefer the managed democracy frame). Oh these dumb sheeple, why don’t they care about what I care about? How can they be so short sighted? That sorta thing.

Probably the biggest problem with free marketers, marketplace of ideas, wisdom of crowds type thinking is the idea that what people want is morally or practically good, so anything that results from our collective desire is legitimate. It’s difficult to upend that frame without seeming like an elitist or a fascist. If we want to be a bunch of fat idiots polluting the Earth, well, who the hell are you to tell us we’re doing it wrong? The market has spoken.

In context, his point is that reform movements have to change public opinion away from the directives of moneyed interests. So they should not defer to polls (and thus to existing public opinion) or to donors (and thus to corruption). This is a fair point.

But it does require a more “scientific” view of statecraft and a less “marketplace” view.

A large part of the problem is that too much of the left is afraid of populism and demagougery, associating it with the Tea Party or Donald Trump. Ironically the latter has done what the Democratic Party failed to do for decades-convince a significant portion of the Republican electorate that the party does not work for their socioeconomic interests. The question is if the Democratic Party can take advantage of this divide to make sure this is not a brief phenomenon but a step in shifting this portion of the electorate to its side.

No, marshmallow is right. Look at that complaint about climate change and how it isn’t being talked about. What it boils down to is “you guys, climate change is a really important issue and you should be talking about it instead of talking about immigration and ISIS and all the other mundane and pointless things you decided to talk about at that debate. You should be talking about climate change because I want you to.”

Or suppose that the candidates had talked about it incessantly during the debate. What would they have said? Not that climate change was a huge problem; rather that the whole issue was a hoax, overblown, etc. I cant imagine that the author of the piece would have been any happier with that.

Of course there are times when leaders should lead without regard to polling. But to say that paying attention to what the population thinks is a bad idea…that’s pretty paternalistic.

It’s not always just, “because I want you to.” It can be, “because it’s real/true/important.”

And what’s wrong with being “paternalistic”? Is it better for government to be a “neglectful” authority?